The Maturation of Cartoons

I decided to use the Google Ngram to see find the popularity of specific cartoons and cartoon TV channels. This idea came to me because I used to spend hours at a time watching cartoons as a kid and I wanted to see how they have changed in today’s TV. The graph shows that Nickelodeon has been the most popular channel throughout its existence. Disney Channel used to be the second most popular out of the three (Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel), but Cartoon Network has recently surpassed it. This data shows that when kids our age were around 5 or so, the Disney channel was more popular, but as we grew older we changed preferences to Cartoon Network. Nickelodeon seems to appeal to a broader age spectrum and this might have to do with its Nick at Night section. As a kid, I was always more interested in Cartoon network than I was with Disney Channel so I can see why this shift happened. The shift could have occurred because of the release of Pokemon right around that time. Back in the day, I used to watch every episode of some of those early seasons.

Ngram Graph

I picked those three specific TV shows (Spongebob, Rugrats, and Family Guy) because they represented three parts of my life. I watched Rugrats when I was a toddler, Spongebob when I was in grade school, and Family Guy from then on. The graph seems to represent kids my age moving on from show to show. Rugrats was the biggest, then Spongebob overtook it, and if the graph kept on going, I would assume the Family Guy overtakes Spongebob around 2010.

It is very interesting how this graph seems to map my generation’s maturation just through the relative frequency of a few cartoon channels and TV shows. I definitely experienced a feeling of nostalgia while doing this experiential post and I very much enjoyed it.

3 thoughts on “The Maturation of Cartoons”

  1. I find it really interesting that spongebob was on the rise for such a long time. I think that it is funny to believe how big spongebob is still to this very day especially since it has been so long since I have seen one of the episodes. The Rugrats makes sense since they don’t really make any more episodes of that show anymore and I actually have seen any merchandise or videos of the show. Im more surprised their popularity has declined even more dramatically than it has. Perhaps the Rugrats just still hold a part in peoples life since it was part of their childhood. The Nickelodeon trend I’m not surprised by at all. They have hotel chains, choice awards, a well run network and tons of other merchandise including the famous “slime”.

  2. I find it interesting that the only cartoon to lose popularity was the rug rats. I remember watching it when I was little and understand why it started to lose popularity. I remember there being a spin-off to them in high school and that show overtaking the original one. I am surprised that Nickelodeon seemed to be more successful then Cartoon network. I was always a fan of cartoon network and preferred its show, but Nickelodeon did do many events that were used to advertise to channel itself.

  3. I can also see why Rug rats declined after a while. They did not do too much in the 2000s to promote their product while Spongebob seemed to be everywhere. I can also see why Nickelodeon was the more popular channel just because of all the self-advertising they did. Cartoon Network did not do nearly as much, which kind of saddens me because it was definitely my favorite.

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